Friday, January 26, 2018

The Great Alone - Kristin Hannah

The Great AloneThe Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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This is not The Nightingale but is an amazing story in it's own right.

A coming of age novel set in the 70's and 80's Alaskan frontier. This is a hard book to review without giving a lot of it away.

I adored and was rooting for Leni throughout. At one point I had to set down the book to make dinner - muttering about a choice she had just made the whole time. I thought about the characters and story in between my reading of it. I was invested.

It's amazing to me how the Kristin Hannah was able to make Alaska itself a central character in the novel. Beautiful. Untamed.

The plot explores complicated themes in a multifaceted way.

It was wonderfully written. My only complaint is a situation towards then end that was handled to easily for the depth of the rest of the book.

I don't want to spoil any of it. Just read it.

Trigger warnings: violence, some language, alcoholism, PTSD

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Surprise Me - Sophie Kinsella

Surprise MeSurprise Me by Sophie Kinsella
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

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I have enjoyed many of Sophie Kinsella's books every the years. Every now and then, though, she writes one that just doesn't work for me. Unfortunately, this book falls in the latter category.

Sylvie & Dan have been together for ten years. They feel they know all there is to know about each other. It's comfortable. Easy. Until their doctor predicts they are in such good health they will have another 68 years of life together. Then comfortable starts seeming a bit stodgy. And easy is no longer a good thing. Operation Surprise Me commences.

This book was just ho-hum for me. I generally love Kinsella's quirky main characters, but Sylvie just didn't inspire any sort of interest or investment from me. I wasn't itching to get back to her story when real life interfered. I can't pinpoint exactly why this was. Maybe I found her a bit whiny with mentality that kept her from really taking control of her life until later in the book.

I probably like Dan slightly better but still not enough to keep me engaged.

There was a lot of language and mention of sex in this book. And one pretty described scene. All of that turned me off a bit too.

For me, it was a disappointing read. But I'll still anxiously await her next book. Another gem is coming.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Last of the Mohicans - James Fenimore Cooper

The Last of the Mohicans (The Leatherstocking Tales #2)The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

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“A wild rush of action in this classic frontier adventure story…” is how the synopsis for this book begins. So I’m not sure I was reading the right book.
It was set in the wild. And it is a classic. However, I was missing both the rush of action and the adventure part of the story. There was a lot of description and some dialogue – even dialogue in French, which was completely lost on me. Far more of those two things than there ever was of adventure or action. Although I will say there was a smattering of action throughout the thirty-some-odd chapters.
There was nothing about any of the characters that made me feel invested in them. They were each (and all the people groups as well) were called by multiple names and descriptions. That led to some confusion in the first several chapters until I got the hang of who was who and what all their nicknames were. But, overall, they just weren’t that interesting to me.
Probably the most impactful part of the book was the massacre. That you see coming from a mile away but is nonetheless absolutely horrifying to read about.
The rest of the book was just ho-hum. As with many classics, the reason for it standing the test of time eludes me.

Rating is a 1.5.

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